I'm old and domesticated. That's the only excuse I have for changing my plans for my tax return from a big vacation to a little one and new kitchen counters. If you follow my Facebook status (or more importantly my Twitter feed, you saw the experience I had at Home Depot last Friday. To recap, I was standing there waiting to be helped as some workers finished up a project. I was acknowledged only with a glance, but then an older woman and her mother approached the desk and the workers asked if they could help her. She said she'd like to make an appointment to talk counters and the worker said that no one was waiting. I immediately put my samples back up and left.
From there I went to The Countertop Store in Maumelle. Looked at some Silestone samples (97% quartz) and got an estimate. $3000 /choke For my little kitchen...Well, I took the samples back and had a look at them. To be honest, the stone seemed overkill. I'm going to restain the cabinets, but even then, the stone looked TOO fancy for everything else I have.
In the meantime, after I had stewed over the Home Depot issue, I decided to write them. In an economic recession, when someone wants to come spend money, a store best go out of its way to attract a customer...and I wanted to let them know that. So they call me back and at first I'm like "I've already decided to handle my project elsewhere." The guy asked if there was ANY way I would come back in and hear what they had to say. So I agreed and went in this afternoon. I was greeted by the store manager, another managerial fellow, and their top kitchen specialist. Okay, so they are pretty serious about wanting my business. I explained the whole fancy stone theory and we look at laminate. They draw up an estimate that's around $1400. Now we're talking. I never asked for it and didn't come back to the store expecting it, but the managerial guy offered a 10% discount off that should I choose to go with Home Depot. Not one to hold a grudge over one bad visit, I tell them I will consider and call back.
I head back to The Countertop Store and this is where I start becoming frustrated. It's a good 15-20 minute drive. I get there and ask for a new estimate with laminate so that I can compare with Home Depot. I'm out the door in less than 5 minutes because all the guy does is write down the samples and says they'll call me back. Next I want to head to Lowe's. That's another 15-20 minutes thanks to traffic. I get there, am greeted, but the guy says they don't make estimates without coming out to get a "Detail," which by the way costs $35. He ballparks it around $1500. 20 minute drive back to WLR. I've listened to an entire hour long podcast on my iPhone. Total afternoon time spent on this was 90 minutes. That's 30 minutes of in-store time and 60 minutes of driving. /sigh
I got the samples back and actually was pretty pleased with one I hadn't expected. Going to get some second opinions and we'll see what happens. Is it old and domesticated to be excited about new kitchen counters?